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‘We want to arouse the consciousness’
has always been admired by his fellow officials in the prestigious Indian
Administrative Services (IAS). The man who served as principal secretary
to the chief minister of Gujarat and chief secretary of Jammu &
Kashmir government and as an advisor to the UP governor and went on to
retire from the government as secretary to the government of India having
served the cabinet secretariat and the ministry of steel has a number of
achievements up to his sleeves. Though retirement seems to be the end of
most people's active life, but the man in point emerged in a new avatar.
Moosa Raza received a number of offers from different quarters including
offers for gubernatorial job in a state, coveted vice chancellor-ship of
the AMU and Jamia Millia Islamia and also invitations from several
political parties to join them. All these offers were turned down. His
friends coerced him to give a second look at these offers, but the man
After his retirement in 1995 he took over as the director general of the
grand project of India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC). The project was
doomed to fail as nothing had practically been done with the project whose
foundation was laid down by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi way back
in 1984. But within five years after he took over the project, the grand
building with a constructed area of over 55000 sq. ft. is complete. He is
the chairman of a fortnightly English Magazine Nation & the world and
runs an IT institute SIMTECH in the Capital. He is also in the process of
chalking out a plan to set up a University of Science, Technology &
Management near Delhi. He heads a number of other trusts and institutions,
besides running a consultancy firm MOVE. Raza has written a widely read
book, Of Nawabs and Nightingales and is also a prolific poet, a fact that
very few people know.
Recently he was elected chairman of the prestigious Muslim body, Movement
for the Empowerment of Muslims in India (MOEMIN). The body set up more
than two years ago with great hope was mired in controversies for around a
year. The internal bickering had spelled doom for the body that was set up
for the social, educational and economic development of the Muslims in the
country. With his appointment it seems that the body will again be put on
tracks. S Ubaidur Rahman of the MG interviewed him recently. Excerpts:
|How do you plan to put the
MOEMIN back on tracks?
MOEMIN was conceived as a platform to take up issues and
problems that confront the Muslim community and to strive to
inculcate in the community and in everyone of its institutions the
pursuit of excellence. We want to take up in right earnest the
educational backwardness of Muslim community, their economic
deprivation, their low position in government and public sector
companies, their minimal presence in government offices and low
funding they receive from the banks. We also want to take up with
all the political organizations with secular credentials for
Muslims' due representation in the these parties. The first step in
this regard is to make Muslims aware of their position in the
country and their right in the rightful share in it. We have been
working in the same direction.
We have organized several state conventions in states like Tamil
Nadu, Andhara Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. We have organized
even a number of district level conferences in Tamil Nadu and
Andhara Pradesh. But we have not been very successful in Northern
states. Now we want to focus states with large Muslim presence like
Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We want to organize conventions in these
two states and introduce the MOEMIN here.
What are your priorities?
Our first priority will be education. We have done lot of things
in this fields specially in Tamil Nadu and Andhara Pradesh. We now
want to take up UP and Bihar as these are the most backward states.
We want to take up educational and economic development of the
community in these two states. We also want to liaise with central
and state governments so that Muslims get rightful representation in
government offices. We are also planning to talk to the political
parties for that.
How will you liase with political parties?
We are an apolitical forum. We will not join politics. We have a
number of our members in different political parties. Be it
Samajwadi party, Congress, Muslim League or the National Conference,
our members are in all these parties and in senior positions. So we
will talk to these parties for proper representation of Muslims in
these political parties. We don't want to be in politics we want to
arouse the consciousness of Muslims and conscience of political
What do you plan to do in the field of education?
Muslims are educationally most backward community in the
country. In the last four decades male literacy rate has gone up
three times and the female rate has gone up by five times. Muslims
have been left far behind in the educational filed compared to other
communities. They are 10 percentage points behind in the national
average, while the gap in the female literacy rate is even wider.
Even more alarming is the fact that the enrolment rate has been
progressively declining for Muslim children. Currently it stands at
62 percent, 16 percent behind their other compatriots.
It all needs to be corrected. We believe that sound educational
empowerment is the key to all-round promotion of the community's
future in every field. It will have a major bearing on all the other
prioritized facets of empowerment. Our basic goal is that every
child gets best possible primary education along with the requisite
religious instructions. At all times, and at every stage the content
and quality of the education should be of the highest order and as
the stage advances, its style and orientation to employment and
professional opportunities. We are planning to set up a Minorities
Educational Upliftment Board. It will be a high powered body whose
members will be distinguished academicians, administrators,
management, professional and technology experts with long
experience. Board will be a major instrumentality to ensure that
Muslim educational institutions always retain a reputation for
excellence for Muslims.
You are involved in a number of activities. So how do you manage
This is millat's work. I don't want either name or fame. I would
have gone for some gubernatorial job as I was offered when I retired
from the government or vice chancellor-ship of some university, but
I did not take any of these as these would have hindered my
activities. These were jobs that anyone would have filled in. But
what I am doing now would have remained unfulfilled. It had to be
done. And I am trying to do a job that could help the community.